Joe Sobek was a player of indoor sports such as squash,
handball, and paddle ball as well as sporadic work as
a professional tennis player. None of them really suited
him well enough, which led him to invent his own indoor
sport. He started by taking a set of paddles and altering
them so that he could string them, as if they were raquets.
Then with a soft, bouncy rubber ball (the core of a tennis ball), he invented rules for how to play an indoor, two
person game that consisted of hitting the ball around within
an indoor court using the "paddle rackets" that he invented.
The name was called Paddle Rackets, in fact.
This occurred in 1949 in Greenwhich, Connecticut. He made
an effort to promote the sport to a wider audience as the
founder of the Paddle Rackets Association. But his sport
never really took off until 1968 when a group of players
asked the then president of the U.S. Handball Association to begin promoting the sport under the name of Racquetball.
Joe was born on April 5, 1918 and died on March 31, 1998.